Crimea's leaders declared a 96-percent vote in favour of quitting Ukraine and annexation by Russia in a referendum the West declared illegal and that would result in immediate sanctions.
* With three-quarters of Sunday's votes, Mikhail Malishev, head of the referendum committee, said 95.7% of Crimean voters had approved splitting off and joining Russia. Turnout was estimated at 83%.
* Opponents of secession, including Crimea’s Tatar Muslim minority, appeared to have stayed home Sunday, denouncing the vote as a power play and land grab by Russia.
* The US and Europe swiftly condemned the ballot as illegal and were expected to slap sanctions against Russia in reprisal as of Monday.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday told US President Barack Obama in telephone talks that the referendum was “completely in line with the norms of international law”, according to a statement released by the Kremlin.
* After the polls closed late Sunday, crowds of ethnic Russians in the regional Crimean capital of Simferopol erupted with pro-Russian chants in the main square.
* The Crimean parliament will meet Monday to formally ask Moscow to be annexed and Crimean lawmakers will fly to Moscow later in the day for talks, Crimea’s pro-Russia prime minister said on Twitter.
* Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, is expected to vote on the Crimean request for annexation on Monday.
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Date created : 2014-03-16